Flash Fiction

None of the flash fiction we read in English class earlier appealed to me, and I do not think it is because of the content of the prompts or stories themselves. I think the less than 300 words limit on these stories is difficult for any writer to work with. With a limit like that there is no time to set up exposition, and writes just have to cut to the chase to a rising action. This lack of exposition makes it difficult to create an engaging story, as all of the meaning has to be implied, there are not enough words to state it explicitly.

One You Tuber that expresses my vice on word counts from the opposite perceptive. Be warned, the martial here is a bit adult, but I think the point that he makes is worth sharing. (Relevant part of the video ends at 1:44).

While he is arguing that word minimums make for bad writing, I would like to take the time to show that word maximums have an equal and opposite effect. If a maximum word limit is too low in a subject like narrative fiction, then you can’t create a world that  a reader can become invested in, and you also can not sustain the reader’s curiosity to learn more and more about the fictional world you worked so hard to create.

Of course, that’s not to say it is completely impossible to write immersive works of fiction with low word counts. The SCP Foundation is a web series that provides great examples of this. Each article is short (500-1000 words), but manages to tell a small part of a larger story. Because the story is spread out across all the different articles and the articles do not have any particular order, the story can be reproached and read my anyone from any starting point. The entire point to this is to still put the narrative into small chunks and still drive the reader’s curiosity to know more.


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